Friday, November 25, 2011

Negative forces in the Muslim world

The ideas presented here by Iqbal
were also repeated by him
in Urdu verses addressed to
contemporary Muslims:
باقی نہ رہی تیری وہ آئینہ ضمیری
اے کشتہءسلطانی و مُلائی و پیری

It may, however, be asked what exactly was the objective of these great Muslims [Syed Ahmad Khan in India, Syed Jamal-ud-Din Afghani in Afghanistan and Mufti Alam Jan in Russia]. The answer is that they found the world of Islam ruled by three main forces and they concentrated their whole energy on creating a revolt against these forces.
  • Mullaism: The ulema have always been a source of great strength to Islam. But during the course of centuries, especially since the destruction of Baghdad, they became extremely conservative and would not allow any freedom of Ijtihad i.e. the forming of independent judgment in matters of law. The Wahabi movement which was a source of inspiration to the nineteenth-century Muslim reformers was really a revolt against this rigidity of the Ulema. Thus the first objective of the nineteenth-century Muslim reformers was a fresh orientation of the faith and a freedom to reinterpret the law in the light of advancing experience.
  • Mysticism: The masses of Islam were swayed by the kind of mysticism which blinked actualities, enervated the people and kept them steeped in all kinds of superstition. From its high state as a force of spiritual education mysticism had fallen down to a mere means of exploiting the ignorance and the credulity of the people. It gradually and invisibly unnerved the will of Islam and softened it to the extent of seeking relief from the rigorous discipline of the law of Islam. The nineteenth-century reformers rose in revolt against this mysticism and called Muslims to the broad daylight of the modern world. Not that they were materialists. Their mission was to open the eyes of the Muslims to the spirit of Islam which aimed at the conquest of matter and not flight from it.
  • Muslim Kings: The gaze of Muslim Kings was solely fixed on their own dynastic interests and, so long as these were protected, did not hesitate to sell their countries to the highest bidder. To prepare the masses of Muslims for a revolt against such a state of things in the world of Islam was the special mission of Syed Jamal-ud-Din Afghani.
(Excerpt from 'Islam and Ahmadism', an article by Iqbal published in January 1936; included in Writings, Speeches and Statements of Iqbal compiled by Latif Ahmad Sherwani and published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan)

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